Thaut, Michael H. School of the Arts, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Last reviewed:June 2019
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- Theoretical basis
- Neurobiological foundations
- Biomedical applications
- Speech rehabilitation
- Music cognition and learning
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The scientific study of the effects of music on the brain. Neuromusicology is a scientific discipline concerned with the function of the brain in music processing. Although neuromusicology is an area of study that utilizes present-day neurological methodologies and techniques, it is rooted in traditional cultural beliefs, and many ancient societies believed that music (Fig. 1) has a therapeutic effect on the mind and body. Investigations of this traditional concept with modern analytical tools have led to the development of the field of neuromusicology, and researchers have incorporated music therapy into attempts to treat behavioral problems and facilitate social learning. Because of the technological improvements in brain research methods, it has been possible, via neuromusicology, to gain a better understanding of musical cognition and how this information can provide a basis for biomedical and therapeutic applications of music. For example, studies indicate that music can stimulate complex cognitive, affective, and sensorimotor processes in the brain. It is hoped that insights from neuromusicology will prove valuable in attempts to treat deficits in motor function, behavior (including autism), cognition (including attention and memory), speech, and pain management. See also: Acoustics; Affective disorders; Brain; Cognition; Hearing (human); Musical acoustics; Musical instruments; Neural basis of rhythm in music; Pain; Pitch; Scale (music); Sound; Speech; Speech perception; Tone (music and acoustics)
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